In this three part series, founder and director of PassivEnergy, Rob Iacono demystifies the questions surrounding energy ratings, sustainable home building and his tips of what to consider when chatting with your builder. Today, Rob will get to the crux of what the heck an energy rating is, and why it is such an important aspect to the design of your home.
Quite often I am asked what I do for a living, and when I tell people one of the services we provide is 6-star energy rating reports, I’m often met with a blank face and a raised eyebrow.
If you have been to an appliance store selling white goods and electronics, you will more than likely see a label displayed on the corner of the product showing a few stars. Some products will display an electricity-guzzling 1 or 2 stars, while others may have 5 stars, but the intention of this labelling is to illustrate to the consumer how much power is used to operate the product and provides a direct energy comparison between products and brands.
With this in mind, we can relate a similar concept to the way in which energy ratings are applied to home designs. Let’s break it down simply by discussing the way in which Australian practice has changed over time.
Through the decades, Australia had been building homes and energy efficiency wasn’t really something that was thought about in great depth. This meant that the only thing separating us from the outside weather was some plasterboard, timber stud walls and some form of external cladding like brick or weatherboard. So, if you are wondering why your home might feel a bit like the Arctic during the colder months, or a sauna when we get consecutive 30 degree days, it is because the way we used to build offered little weather protection, which also ultimately leads to expensive power bills.